Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Buzz About Daniels Weekly Standard Interview

Gov. Mitch Daniels gave an interview to the Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson that has gotten a lot of buzz among political pundits and would-be GOP presidential candidates like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee this past week. A quote from Daniels that is getting all the attention and a rise out of some conservatives within the party is his admonishment to the party to give a rest on the hot button social issues until the nation's economic house is restored. , Daniels told Ferguson, “[We] would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. . .  We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while, until the economic issues are resolved." What hasn't gotten much attention was Ferguson's brief mention of that small incident at Princeton in 1970:

When the oppo researchers and the national press do get around to opening up Daniels’s life for inspection, they will find a few embarrassments. One is his arrest in 1970 for marijuana possession when he was a student at Princeton. He spent two nights in jail and paid a $350 fine, and later wrote about the bust in a column for the Star in 1989.
When Mitch Daniels first ran for governor, I was frankly surprised to learn that he had been busted on drug charges when he attended Princeton. The Democrats never made a big deal about it, and the news media had very little to say about the matter so I figured it must have been pretty trivial. My curiosity, however, got the better of me one day and I did a little more research. What I learned was that an undercover police officer spent months gathering evidence against Daniels and his roomies at Princeton. It seems there was a little more going on there than smoking a joint on occasion. According to the police officer, he purchased a variety of illegal drugs from Daniels' dorm room over a period of months, including marijuana, LSD and prescription drugs. Daniels and his roomies were charged with possession and dealing charges, as well as maintaining a common nuisance. Daniels' buddies got bailed out of jail right away when the bust occurred, but Daniels had to cool his in jail for a couple of nights until his father got to town to bail him out.

His father, a pharmaceutical executive, could have been none too pleased that his son was not only accused of selling illegal drugs but also his bread and better, prescription drugs. After the wealthy boys' parents hired some good lawyers, the felony drug charges got pleaded down to simple possession charges, which did not sit too well with the cop who had spent months investigating the drug ring operating on Princeton's campus. My research also discovered that Daniels, who had not too flattering long, stringy hair, from the looks of pictures taken at the time, joined an anti-Vietnam War student organization.

Daniels transgressions as a young adult at Princeton did not stop him from achieving a very successful career as an aide to former Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar, White House staffer for President Ronald Reagan, a top executive at Eli Lilly, OMB Director for President George W. Bush and Indiana governor, but it may be a little more than a roadblock to his White House ambitions. While his real life, "Risky Business" dealing at Princeton as a young adult probably wouldn't be a problem in the Democratic Party, which gave us Bill "I smoked but didn't inhale" Clinton and Barack Hussein "I was a pothead, junkie" Obama, it's a big problem in the Republican Party. I don't care how you slice it or dice it, the Republican Party will not nominate a guy who spent the Vietnam War at an elitist Ivy League school as a long-haired, drug-dealing, using anti-war protester. It ain't going to happen in the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign, even with his impressive accomplishments as Indiana's governor. His opponents won't let it slide, and the national news media won't let it slide.


Wilson46201 said...

Thanks for this Stinger missile you sent up against Mitch's trial balloon!

Advance Indiana said...

His would-be Republican opponents already have the same information, as well as Democratic operatives, Wilson. I'm sure senators haven't forgotten his FBI background report from his confirmation hearing already, which most certainly would have detailed the Princeton arrest more than I did in this blog post or newspaper accounts of his arrest at the time, which are still easy to access.


Gosh, would it have been better if Daniels went to Nam and napalmed villages, killed women and children, then came home in a wheelchair with both legs blown off and became a drug and alcohol addict?

See, this is the problem with the Republican party. The GOP is warmongering. They love war. They see war as an answer to all problems.

The only people who win war are the profiteers who are also big moneyed contributors to the GOP.

Advance Indiana said...

Melissa, I'm sure there are more than a few Vietnam War veterans who are offended by your characterization of their service. You really should sit down and talk to someone like Henry Karlson, who served as a JAG officer during the Vietnam War, to get a better perspective before casting such sweeping aspersions


Yeah, I hear you Gary.

But that war made no sense and pretty much everyone agrees.

Sure, I know people who came back and seem ok on the outside. I don't think a single person who has seen ground combat in Vietnam and lived is ok on the inside unless they are a psychopath.

My point is that the GOP is war mongering and you seem to be encouraging it.

Flash forward to today. Have you investigated what this war is doing to our soldiers? There are a whole lot of them who are seriously messed up because of it. And many aren't getting the treatment and support they need when they come home.

I know one such guy. He is my friend who did 3 Iraq tours and 4 Afghanistan tours as a sniper. He's the guy that had Bin Laden in his sites and was given the order to not shoot.

My friend has seen and done so much that is reprehensible to his soul, that he's a very disturbed guy today. A disturbed guy who isn't getting the help he needs.

Why didn't we take out Bin Laden when we have the chance if he's the boogie man that they claim he is?

Daniels drug dealing and anti-war protesting make him human.


And Gary? Just because you are an officer and removed from the horrors of combat, doesn't make serving war any more moral if you are philosphically opposed to war.

I have a great deal of respect for Henry Karlson, but that doesn't mean Vietnam left him unscathed.

Cato said...

Sorry, AI, HHFT is right.

Pro-war is not limited government.

Advance Indiana said...

Melyssa, Again, You can criticize the people in Washington who poorly managed the Vietnam War but don't piss all over the soldiers who performed service for their country and who had no control over how it was handled. Fighting communism wasn't a bad thing. It's not like it has been proven to be a successful way of governing nations. Even the Chinese have scrapped much of their state-run economy in favor of our capitalistic western ways, albeit without the individual freedom we enjoy here.

Advance Indiana said...

Cato, I'm not pro-War. I'm pro democracy and freedom. I don't think we should have gone to war in Iraq. I think we should have taken immediate action in Afghanistan to get bin Laden and his merry band, but I don't think we should still be there and Iraq trying to nation build a people and culture that don't accept fundamental notions of individual freedom and capitalism. It has basically destroyed us economically no differently than the Soviets disastrous efforts to dominate all of Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.

dcrutch said...

It's the same personal calculation in voting for Burton, Ballard, Coats, and now possibly Daniels: It depends on who else is running and what's at stake.

For me, the national threat to freedom, free enterprise capitalism, democracy, secure borders, and (most of all) fiscal sanity are genuinely under threat.

Burton's my poster child for term limits and excessive corruption. I have the luxury of a Libertarian vote knowing that it's unlikely a Democrat voting with the D.C. Democrats will emerge. Ballard's recently crossed the line as "too far gone" for me. Every week brings something new that seems to reek of corruption, yet he's not a chip in the national game.

Coats is a very tough call. He's despicable, but preferrable to electing Ellsworth, who turned against his constituency in voting for President Obama's corrupt and unaffordable health "reform".

For me, Daniels would be preferrable to the status quo in a heatbeat. He gives a hoot about free enterprise capitalism and economic reality, unlike our President and Congress. Is he completely "clean"- as a candidate? "Heck, No." Has he tried to put the goverment in charge of everything while spending money we don't have even faster than Republicans (including in Afghanistan)- a bigger, "Heck, No."

But, he has tried to tweak his privatized welfare when it wasn't working, hired a BUNCH of case workers when this state had near-weekly headlines about abused or neglected kids, and has done a better juggling act than most in keeping our state's fiscal head above water. He's got to clean-up transparency in job creation and get used to being probed and poked if he's going to do this.

I gave up any pious believe in a correlation between personal behavior and Presidential competency when we impeached a scandalous President Clinton, only to follow him with a more incompetent George W. Bush.

If Daniels is such a miserable tentative choice, they who do you have in mind to rescue our country from the current predicament?

Advance Indiana said...

That's a good question, dscrutch. I'm not sure. The last go around I originally liked Romney the best until he started running away from his record as governor of Massachusetts, including his Obama light health care reform plan, which apparently did work as well as he thought it would, and his more progressive positions on some of the hot button social issues. I'm still looking for the right person. Nobody has been able to get me as enthused as Ronald Reagan did. I cannot stand Mike Huckabee. I personally like Palin, but she forfeited her right to run for president when she quit her job as Alaska governor before the end of her term as far as I'm concerned. Daniels has a tendency to spout off things that get him into trouble and is too unwilling to own up to his mistakes, which led to the welfare privatization debacle, a horribly run Department of Children Services, gross mismanagement of unemployment insurance claims and a nearly complete abrogation of any responsibility when it comes to protecting the environment from big corporate polluters. There is an appearance that he bends over backwards to help out his big campaign contributors to the detriment of the general public.


I don't think Daniels is all bad either. I'd vote for him instead of anyone else out there with the exception of Ron Paul.

He treated the property tax protesters in the most decent of ways.

No, he didn't get us the repeal that we asked, but he did demand cuts from local governments cut $3 billion per year over 2006 spending. The biggest cut of all came this year.

I blogged the numbers at HFFT.

I think Daniels did a good job of listening to all the concerns of citizens in Indiana and reaching compromises, in spite of the fact that I didn't get my way (which was repeal). I still want repeal to happen and believe we can get there if we keep cutting spending and taxes.

And by the way...I called the DLGF a couple weeks ago. I've never talked to a brighter more engaged public office. It was a breath of fresh air. I wish every public office I dealt with was as forthcoming, concerned and genuinely helpful. That told me a lot about Daniels administration.

Stop Indiana said...

Stinger missile? BS! Who are these perfect people so many claim to know; save for one who was crucified a couple thousand years ago?

The Gov has been pretty open about his mistakes. Exactly who, has made claims of perfection or is without sin(s)? Please make an introduction for the benefit of all.

Let's instead consider policy, things like, GA promoted, "constitutional" amendments which counterfeit variables (assessments) as "caps." How does that work, again? A little straightforward math please, ...anyone?

Btw, it was the lower taxing JFK / Johnson admin who first sent American troops to Vietnam, & Nixon who pulled them out; whatever that's supposed to mean in terms of "parties."

Cronkiting of the Tet Offensive fouled what should've been a better result. Cronkite was unfortunately a con man who learned a lot about sailing, in & around the truth. But hey, Nike is making great shoes in Vietnam & relations have improved substantially since those horrible years.

Government needs major liposuction; not additional girth. We need a much smaller public sector in order to survive. And no, there isn't much time, or money, for the "social issue" industry.


Gary, honey...I am not pissing all over our soldiers. I am defending our soldiers and their humanity.

How many will suffer a lifetime of post traumatic stress syndrome? How many more will develop strange diseases and ultimately die as a result of the chemicals used in warfare? How many more will endure a whole host of vaccines whose safety is questionable? How many more will come home disfigured inside and out.

And how many more INNOCENT civilians overseas will we murder in the name of war profiteering under the banner of "freedom" and "liberty"?

Surely this planet's humanity is more enlightened than our corrupt world leaders who are funded by war profiteers.

Indy Student said...

Stop Indiana, if what Gary says is true (and Gary is pretty good on reporting facts), this is much more than a youthful indiscretion. He's talking about drug dealing! That's more serious than just using drugs.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I agree with AI, that Daniels's behavior during the years of tge Vietnam War will hurt him with die-hard Republicans. As HFFT knows, poll results are still showing that Republicans are much more interested in going to war with other countries than are members of the Democratic Party. This is so crazy because war is a racket (quote from Major Genl. Smedley Butler}, and our system of government which is now about cronyism and corporatism, not free enterprist capatalism, needs to be reformed, not forced on others.

Advance Indiana said...

That's exactly my point, Indy Student. I've seen how presidential campaigns are run, and I know that every detail of that incident 40 years ago will be rehashed if he runs for president. I think he's heads and shoulders over our most recent governors when it comes to governing this state. His over-aggressiveness in pursuing his vision of how the state should be run, however, has created some serious problems for his administration. The welfare privatization is the best example of that. The toll road lease has proven to be a wise decision despite all of the heat he took from Democrats, although I've been disappointed that the major projects envisioned by Major Moves got short-changed in favor of doling out pork barrel projects around the state.

dcrutch said...

After Nam, Iraq, & now Afghanistan, I think a majority of America is in Melyssa's semi-isolationist ballpark. Hell, we can't afford to anything else if we gave a rat's ass about fiscal solvency.

I don't drive a hybrid, recycle, bicycle a bit, and make like donations because I'm devoid of environmental concerns. However, I'd first like to have a currency and federal balance sheet that's not in default to have more capacity to worry about the environment.

I'd be surprised if the "warfare" voting record post-WWII isn't more a function of getting re-elected than party ideological adherence. I'd have to look more closely at the historical locations of defense contractors to assign blame.

Advance Indiana said...

I'm not in disagreement on our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. This discussion is about what Daniels was doing during the Vietnam War era. Let's not mix the two up, although as the Weekly Standard article pointed out, Daniels has been widely criticized for grossly under-estimating the cost of those wars. He says he made the estimates based on their being very short-lived, in and out operations. I suspect the numbers were crunched by the boys at Haliburton and shoved up his ass at the time if I'm saying what I really think happened. Haliburton, by the way, is no longer an American company. It's headquartered in Dubai. How fitting.

Advance Indiana said...

I would also point out that Ferguson's article included a complaint by the Indiana Family Institute's Curt Smith that Daniels wouldn't help the far right out in its effort to pass the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Daniels actually spoke out in support of the amendment; he just didn't use any political capital to try and get it passed. His own former employer, Eli Lilly, spoke out in opposition to the amendment because of its over-reaching impact and the impression it gave our state a face of intolerance. In that sense, his statement during the interview flies in the face of the personal view he took on that issue when it was being debated.

Bradley said...

When you say "gross mismanagement of unemployment insurance claims" AI, I am so very glad to see you make this statement -- especially since our mainstream media fails to denote that Indiana has one of the very worst unemployment (UI) systems in the country, which has happened under the governor's watch. Before Governor Daniels took office, DWD had a mostly well-run UI system. Sure, DWD had its problems, but Daniels cannot claim he "found it in disrepair". Under his watch, DWD has established a culture of fear, retaliation, ethics violations rampant, nepotism and outright incompetence.

In 2008, the last statistics available, Indiana's DWD overpaid UI claimants at an error rate of 26% (highest in country) and at a price of $261 MILLION (highest in country by more than $150 MILLION more than the next closest state of New York). So, Indiana paid a total of $994 million to claimants of which only $733 million actually should have been paid. 2008 was, not coincidentally, also the year Indiana's UI Trust Fund went broke (the federal government is bailing Indiana out with a $1.66 BILLION loan right now -- which the governor tends to not remember this little fact).

Indiana also has the worst UI quality of any state or territory in terms of making adjudication decisions (allowing or denying people unemployment). In the first quarter of this year, Indiana only got 18 out of a sample of 100 issues correct (this is all public knowledge and viewable on the US DOL's website -- anyone can ask me for links and I'd be more than happy to provide). No wonder Indiana's UI debt is so horrendous (and no wonder Teresa Voors was fired as commissioner -- she did not quit on her own as Daniels' office reported). When claimants get paid who should not -- or claimants who should get paid do not -- claimants, employers and taxpayers suffer. All are suffering because of the incompetence of DWD at this time. And what I mention here is only a sliver of the TONS of problems there at DWD under the Daniels administration.

Marycatherine Barton said...

And many will never forget Governor Daniels's giving permission to BP to dump toxic waste from its refinery near Whiting, In., into Lake Michigan.

JP said...

Despite what you think about Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq (personally I favor HFFT and CATO's views), what it boils down to is the hypocrisy of our political class - and I mean about both sides of the aisle.

Wars are waged which serve only to increase the size of government and take our minds off of domestic failures. However, those who advocate entering these wars and their children seldom if ever do any of the actual fighting. That is left to those of us who are less privileged.

Despite the fact that many of our ruling class used drugs in their youth or currently use them (Clarence Thomas, Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh) and were able to do so without it impacting on their future. The futile and expensive "WAR" on Drugs continues to be waged. Who are the real victims in this "WAR" - the poor schmucks who get thrown in jail for years because they have a couple of ounces of pot in their possession while celebrities and sons and daughters of the rich walk free with a slap on the wrist.